Melon Seed Harvesting And Storage: Tips For Collecting Seeds From Melons

Close Up Of Seeds In A Melon
melon seeds
(Image credit: kellyreekolibry)

Collecting seeds from garden fruits and vegetables can be thrifty, creative, and fun for a gardener. Saving melon seeds from this year’s crop to plant in next year’s garden requires planning and attention to detail. Read on for tips about collecting seeds from melons.

Collecting Seeds from Melons

Melons are members of the cucumber family, and they are open pollinated by wind or insects. This means that melons cross-pollinate with others in their family. Before you start saving melon seeds, be sure that the melon species you want to propagate are not planted within a half mile of other types of melons. Melon seeds grow inside the fleshy fruit. Wait until the fruits are fully ripe and separated from the vine before collecting seeds from melons. In cantaloupe, for example, look for thick netting and a pungent melon smell from the stem end. To start saving melon seeds, cut open the fruit lengthwise and scoop out the seed masses into a jar. Add a little warm water and allow the mixture to sit for two to four days, stirring daily. As the melon seeds sit in water, they ferment. During this process, the good seeds sink to the bottom of the jar while the detritus floats to the top. To collect seeds from melons, pour off the water containing the pulp and bad seeds. Now let’s learn how to preserve melon seeds for future planting.

Storing Melon Seeds

Melon seed harvesting is a waste of your time unless you learn how to preserve melon seeds until planting time. Drying the seeds thoroughly is the key. After the soaking process, put the good seeds in a strainer and wash them clean. Spread the good seeds out on a paper towel or a screen. Allow them to dry for several days. Storing melon seeds that are not completely dry results in moldy seeds. Once the seeds are very dry, place them in a clean, dry glass jar. Write the seed variety and the date on a label and tape it to the jar. Put the jar in the freezer for two days, and then move to the refrigerator.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.